Day 2 – Vision Gone Wrong: Correction through Repentance
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”
What is Repentance?
E ver wonder why most communal fasts start with repentance? Well once you are a Christian, it’s kinda like the spiritual equivalent to washing your hands before tucking into a delicious meal or taking a shower before going somewhere nice. Our aim with any fast or devotional should be to get closer to God, to be more intimate with Him, so that as we behold Him, we become more like Him. Intimacy with God is our delicious meal or somewhere nice to go. In the Old Testament this was an actual place in the temple – the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was placed (cp. Exodus 37).
Today, repentance doesn’t need to be a depressing or dramatic process. It of course used to be though. Before Jesus’ crucifixion, the punishment for sinning against God was death. This could be of your crops, cattle or even your entire clan! But thanks to Christ’s sacrifice, we no longer need to be a High Priest or perform ritualistic slaughter of animals to repent and draw close to God or to experience His Holy of Holies. Jesus made a way back to God for all of us, and that can’t be undone. But that doesn’t remove the fact that we need to be holy to have a healthy relationship with God, because God is holy. Turning away from God and sinning creates a distance between God and us. This impairs our relationship with God thus harming our vision.
“repentance is our way of cleaning up our mess and moving back towards Him.”
When we read about the physical Holy of Holies in the Bible, it was a sacred space, heavy with the presence of God and nothing impure was able to survive in it. Matthew 5:8 highlights the importance of being righteous and pure of heart, so as to know God and experience the fullness of His glory, the greatest form of intimacy. However, God will never force intimacy on us, therefore repentance is our way of cleaning up our mess and moving back towards Him.
Repentance is about taking stock of any time we may have offended God through our actions, words or thoughts, knowingly and unknowingly and then apologising for it. This is where David was coming from when he wrote Psalm 51, often titled “A prayer of repentance”. Of course, not all of us have slept with someone else’s wife and then killed the husband to hide our adultery like David did. But the position of repentance David takes in this Psalm should be an example to us all. He is truly someone who wanted to fully restore his intimacy with God. David knew more than most how beautiful that intimacy is.
“Restored vision is the fruit of restored intimacy with God”
We must also remember sin can also be against others, hence why in the Lord’s Prayer we pray that God forgives us as we forgive others. Those “others” in someone else’s prayer surely includes you! Withholding love or avoiding others can also be a sin, which is why Jesus in Matthew 22:39 commands us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. But note that is to be done after we first love God with all our heart, soul and mind. You can only truly do that after you repent.
As we seek to restore our vision for this new season in our life, we must be right with God and confront any false visions we may be holding and following. Restored vision is the fruit of restored intimacy with God, the Greatest Visionary.
Turning away from God and sinning creates a distance between God and us. This impairs our relationship with God thus harming our vision. Repentance is our way of cleaning up our mess and moving back towards Him – making us ready to live a life in harmony with God’s vision.
Questions to ask yourself
1. What do you need to repent of? Where have you been disobedient or dismissive of God?
2. Where have you created distance between you and God?
3. Are you serious about becoming more intimate with Him? What would you be willing to do to be more intimate with Him?
4. Where have you sinned against others? How can you ask for forgiveness?
5. Where have others sinned against you? Where do you need to forgive others?
A prayer to get you started
Father, thank you that you love me beyond my understanding and that nothing can stop you from loving me, not even my sins. Thank you Lord for the sacrifice you made so I can be with you always. Please forgive me for where I have sinned against you or others. As David prayed in Psalm 51:10 create in me a clean heart and renew in me a steadfast spirit. Make me more sensitive to the things that grieve you, so that I may live in awareness of them. Thank you that you are always willing to forgive and be reconciled with me as long as I ask for and receive it. Where I am harbouring unforgiveness against anyone, help me to remember the sacrifice of Jesus for their and my sins. Your Word makes it clear that if I am unwilling to forgive others, you will not forgive me. Help me to have mercy on them as you have mercy on me. Holy Spirit, please empower me to be holy in all I do.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
2 Chronicles 7:11-22 here God is making clear how repentance changes things
Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance
Tomorrow we review Vision Gone Wrong, Correction Through Gratitude.
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